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"Objective" Quality in commercial development

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Hi there,

for my internship for the local government of Amsterdam (Ground Affairs, something like that) I have to study the possibilty to stimulate "quality" in commercial development with the use of the tool of the groundprice. To be exact: can we get more quality in the looks of the offices built, when we down our prices of the ground?

First I must select the criteria which will count for quality. What is quality? How can you measure it? What sorts of quality count for commercial development? And that for all parties, i.e. local government, real estate developers, real estate offices, investors, users of the building?

Hard question, which can need a little help. If anyone has some ideas, would be gladly appreciated!!

Thnx,
Grtsz-Nidi
 

M Schelly

Member
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Perhaps you could photograph the buildings of properties which have different prices and compare them visually. I think you will find that higher priced properties have higher "quality" buildings ("quality" will be obvious just by looking at them). Paraphrasing Christopher Alexander: subjectivity is objective - "objective" science is proven with statistical significance (in other words, the "facts" of science are rarely 100% assured, they are agreed upon or demonstrated to be "true" to a vast majority of scientists - there are still "flat earth" believers, but a round earth is accepted as an "objective," scientific "fact"). So, Chistopher Alexander says that "subjective" characteristics such as beauty are indeed "objective" because a vast majority of people agree on what is beautiful (or is quality), just by looking at it. He has "proven" this with "scientific" testing.
 

Zoninguy

Member
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"Quality" is a term with a variety of meanings and interpretations. A quality store for some shoppers is one which looks "pretty." Planners would tend to equate this kind of quality with attractive storefronts with potted plants, window that beckon customers in, a sense of human scale, etc. etc. To a lower income shopper, a quality store is one which they can afford. To a wealthy shopper, a quality store is a snobby store. Same for cars - a Mercedes is known for quality, but so is Honda.

Seems to me there is no direct nexus between quality and land value. There are buildings in Beverly Hills which some observers would conclude are ugly, while many buildings from 100 years ago on the down and out edge of America's downtowns are vacant, but contain structural and architectural "quality." Rober Venturi praises some of the buildings of Las Vegas which others see as temporal fads or simply outright trash.

My suggstion is to go back to the premise of your study - without defining quality, what is the desired result of your work? Do you want two-story buildings, or high-rises? Do you want retail or office or hotel or single family or museums? A mix? What is it that your department is upset with - traffic, noise, narrow streets, lack of pedestrians, featureless architecture, lack of mass transit? I think if you clarify what people don't like about the status quo they will be more prepared and focused to ponder what a different future might look like.
 
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